“A week later, four minutes seems like an eternity.” Paul Shipper, on the quest to train for a sub-four minute mile.
Exactly one week after I began training to run a sub-four minute mile by running a mile in 8:45, I was ready to finally run again. My kids were all out the door and off to school by 8:30 am and I decided to run before work instead of trying to take off mid-day and dealing with showering at the gym. It was gorgeous and even though it was supposed to get up to about 85 degrees (which it did later in the day), it was only about 60-65 degrees out by almost 9 am. I got in my car and drove around my block to measure the distance, to discover that one lap (down my street and up the next street over and back) around the block was .4 miles, and I kept going to find out where the mile would end. Let’s do this.
As I did the first time I ran, I set my music and got my stopwatch ready. I started the stopwatch with my first step, and with that first step, my left knee immediately announced its intentions: “I’M GOING TO HURT! I’M GOING TO HURT EVERY WITH EVERY STEP!” And holy shit, it was right. Every step I took hurt. I’m not sure I was running as much as I was limping running. Limpunning? Runping? Enter Sandman was blasting through my earbuds and I was sort of waddling/running down my street. Once again, breathing was not as easy as it should’ve been and I started to question my sanity.
As I got to the bottom of the next street, I passed my friend Erich’s house on the corner and looked to see if he was outside. I had discussed this idea (the whole trying to run a sub-4 minute mile thing) with him a few weeks ago over Mexican food when my wife and I went out to dinner with him and his wife. We discussed the possibility of him training with me, even though his work schedule is almost completely opposite of mine (he works nights but is around in the mornings), so I was sort of hoping he’d be outside, drinking coffee or doing something in his yard. Alas, he wasn’t, so I just kept going and turned the corner. By the time I got back to my driveway to complete the first lap, my knee still hurt but not as badly. I got to the end of my street again, turned onto the sidewalk and realized how much of an uphill the main road is, but it was short-lived and I was soon once again on the next street, which was mercifully a nice downhill.
Enter Sandman finished as I was getting to the end of the street near Erich’s house and “Kickstart My Heart” by Motley Crue began. The opening seconds gave me a lift and energized me to finish that last .3 miles. I didn’t notice any pain in my left knee and pushed through to the end. My second mile was completed in 8:18:86, an improvement of 27 seconds from my first mile. Not a bad way to start. And unlike the first time I ran, I walked more when I was done and as of the writing of this post, my legs actually felt okay. Nothing like the discomfort I felt last week, though I guess I’ll have to see how they feel tomorrow.
Photo: Georgie Pauwels / flickr